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Baseline breakdown: Observations from FSU basketball's NIT win over Davidson

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A look at the Florida State basketball victory over Davidson in the first round of the NIT.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Although the scoreboard said Florida State was victorious over Davidson by double-digits, the game was never put away until late. Each team could not get things going in the first half and only combined for 56 points in what was expected to be a high scoring affair.

After Davidson got off to a hot start, shooting 5-8 from the field and jumping out to as much as a five point lead, they went cold-- ice cold. Of their next 17 shot attempts, the Wildcats would only make two. Normally, a team on the other end of a stretch like that would jump out to a huge lead, however this was not the case. At the conclusion of the run, Florida State only found itself up five points with five minutes left in the first half, and would eventually enter halftime with a four-point lead after shooting 37.5% from the field and 1-7 from downtown.

The 'Noles played with an extremely quick tempo in the first half, which may have be a contributing factor for their poor shooting despite getting good looks. Of the 12 field goals successfully made in the first half, eight had an assist attached to them.

Coming into the game, the biggest threat on Davidson was point guard Jack Gibbs, who was fifth in the entire nation averaging 23.7 points per game. The Seminoles defense virtually shut him out in the first half, only allowing him to score three points on 1-7 shooting. After the game, both Davidson's head coach Bob McKillop and Gibbs said it was hard to gain any traction on the Florida State defense that was displayed.

The second half was a completely different game for both teams, as each found their rhythm on offense. Despite Florida State shooting 56% in that second half, they could not completely pull away from the Wildcats until late. The 'Noles would go on a few runs where they would outscore Davidson by five or six, but would find themselves in danger minutes later. For a team that had not held the lead since early in the first half, Davidson was always within striking distance. Behind the power of Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley, who combined for 35 of the 54 points scored in the half, the 'Noles finished the game on a run to seal the game, converting on 10 of their final 14 shot attempts.

One of the factors in the freshmen's high point total was their free throw shooting, which seemed to be contagious, as FSU shot well above its season average. Coming into the game, Florida State shot 69% from the charity stripe, and with the help of Bacon and Beasley combining for 13-14 from the line, the 'Noles finished 21-24 (87.5%).

Davidson presented a very different and unusual offensive challenge, as they took the first best shot available from anywhere, which was evident from their 33 three pointers attempted. The three ball was their main go to when trying to stop a FSU run, and it worked up until the end as the Wildcats got around an FSU defense that played a solid game overall, shooting 39% from behind the arc. It is beneficial that the 'Noles faced a team that relies on the three ball, as it prepared them for their next opponent, Valparaiso, which is also three point savvy, putting up 20 attempts in their victory over Texas Southern that led them to host the Seminoles.

FSU will travel to Indiana to combat the Crusaders on Thursday night at 7 PM EST.